ARMED AND READY 1982
LIFE is always a bunch of ups and downs, but for it seems that the downs are infinitely more forthcoming than the ups.A deal looked to be secured with Jet Records, but as luck would have it, the E.L.O. magnate backed out at the last minute-apparently both David Arden and his sister Sharon approached the old man, Don Arden, with new bands simultaneously and rather than turn one down, he turned both out of the door!
I first ran in to the dubious pleasures of 720, the speed of sound, late last year when the band was hosting a residency at The Marquee. The gigs were at first sparsely attended, but a definite hard core following began to build up over the weeks. For some reason the Marquee booker refused to re-book 720 and they were forced to concentrate on gigs out of town.
The ensuing Jet deal temporarily abated the downward path, and the Marquee relented allowing the band one more headliner. This time there were a lot more people in attendance, though of course many were scrawled on the lifesaving device for skinted hacks like myself: the glorious guest-list, but drummer Paul Edwards has his own theories about that one:
“The Marquee is not really a money making gig for almost anyone, it is however a chance for the people’ to get along and seethe band. There are certain people that are important to the band, A&R men, agencies and the such like, and also friends of the band like yourself and Brian Harrigan who has been campaigning for us over 9 long period. How can you charge your friends to see you? Do you charge admission to your own house?”
The magnanimity of 720 is only too readily apparent – earlier this year the band invited me to a gig far up North (the legendary Redcar actually) no strings attached, party after the show with pile of my favourite things running about later-even a hotel booked with the best bloody breakfast I’ve had for ages. What I really wanted to know was where the dough came from, or in other words, what is the set up for a band that never seem to suffer despite doing even less for a living than I do?
“We’re rather lucky in that we have a manager who although not knowing much about the music business believes enough in us to plough money in. He leaves the day to day running of the band to us. in fact we’re currently working with Terry McLelland who manages, among others, Samson.
“We’re not entirely certain what the outcome of this alli4e will be, but for the time being, we’re seeing what he can do for us.”
720 have recently been recording new material in Luton (where else huh?), and reactions have been somewhat ecstatic. Vocalist and bassist Dave Birch saves my breath: “We’d just been playing the tapes ourselves, and we all considered that the outcome of the sessions was pretty good- plenty of commercial feel but still a powerful edge. We wanted to get a few outside opinions and reactions so we took the tape up to a music paper, and as luck would have it, the head of Phonogram’s A&R department happened to be around the office. He came storming into the room where we were playing the tape and screamed that it was the best thing he’d heard in years. Obviously we agreed with him, but I must admit that we were a little startled.”
Of course this kind of reaction is just what a band dreams of, instead of hawking your wares around town-spending a fortune in every watering hole you pass the pop music moguls actually begin to queue up in search of YOUR favours … Mmmm if only.
But many may have noticed that the name 720 has been notably lacking in the live scene recently why then have the bend opted to hide away for such a long time? Andy Marshall, guitarist extraordinaire explains with relish: “Basically we’ve spent a lot of time writing songs, and I’ve also had a number of session commitments, both playing on Roger Daltry’s solo album, and even touring with the Q.Tips whilst their regular guitarist was incapacitated.
“But we’re really serious about getting a few more gigs under our belts, none of the band could wait to get out and play the new songs. The reaction at the recent Marquee gig decided for us that a major string of gigs is now essential.
Marquee, London NICK KEMP
THE FIRST I heard of 720 was one night last year when, penniless and thirsty, I crawled into the London Marquee to blag a pint out of someone. I came out with the knowledge that one day 720, who were headlining the first date of a month’s residency, would be lurking around somewhere near the top of the rock tree. Three gigs later at the same venue the Marquee booker decided that the band didn’t draw enough people to warrant re-engaging. Things have changed since then, however.
A recording deal with Jet (and this band ain’t gonna be another ELO tax write off!) and a major tour as support to Sabbath (free an’ all) meant that the Marquee were forced to swallow their pride and invite 720 back. The packed house completed the `egg on face’ syndrome and it became apparent to all and sundry that this band are going places.
The one factor that sets 720 apart from the rest of the heads down bands is that they’re not a heads down band. Which isn’t to say they don’t warrant the attention of Kerrang! readers, far from it. It’s refreshing to see a band that can play, one that doesn’t just rely on the bland powerchords that are so often a disguise for incompetence. The band don’t even have long hair in the greasy sense of the phrase. They’re simply the first hard rock dance band.
Of course image is (unfortunately) another important factor and 720 are lucky in that none of them are that obscene to look at (only joking lads!), lead vocalist and bassist Dave Birch is getting used to mucho stick about his resemblance to Sting, but there’s no posing or high pitched throat strain in this case. Dave sings in a surprisingly tuneful throaty growl, hitting the notes perfectly but adding the necessary raunchiness, while Andy Marshall, on twin lead with pretty blonde Dave Colwell, supplies the statutory HM hero posing and gets away with it.
Completing the tight unit is drummer Paul Edwards who knows a thing or two about dancing, having hit the skins for Blondie soundalikes The Expressos before realising that raunchy rock’n’roll is the only answer to ‘dem ole’ blues’. There are strong rumours that 720 will be opening for a major Arian rock hand in the near future, I can t let on who, but 1 will confirm that it ain’t gonna be Kraftwerk!
FOLLOWING a lengthy absence from the live circuit – they did play at Dingwalls but 1 don’t count that s a bona fide ‘gig’ – 720 return to the Marquee to play one of their better concerts. With a new demo tape that has a number of record company executives foaming at the mouth (and some of ’em like the tape as well) and with a fresher attitude to the joys of live concertdom the band now look as if the promise they showed last year can finally be turned to commercial SUCCESS.
720 play the kind of music that’s been missing on the rock scene for some time, driving rock’n’roll, but with a light edge. In other words they a kick ass but without drowning the melody in noise. The closing trio of “Casualty ‘, “Angles Of Madness”, and “All By Yourself” all have hit single potential, and the rest of the set is certainly of a quality not to be deemed fillers, In fact every bloody song is good enough for recording.
The band, who after a pretty long layoff could be forgiven far being a little too loose, that is with the exception of Andy Marshall who has filled in on a couple of tours, and has recently helped out on Roger Daltrey’s solo album, but even after what can only have been a couple of rehearsals, 720 sound as tight as if they’d been on the road for the last ten years.